Village Square Logo

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Angelina scoffed at Sam, her husband of sixty years. “You’re not leaving. You won’t last a day without me.”

“I can’t deal with you anymore,” he said as he walked out the door. As if she’d been the one to disappoint, to betray.

Angelina’s sagging flesh dimpled with shivers as she followed Sam into the icy morning in nothing more than her Laura Ashley slippers and flowered housecoat. She winced as it took him three tries to heft their ancient Samsonite onto their brand-spanking-new 2000 Buick’s maroon leather seat.

She bore silent, frozen witness as he slid into the driver’s seat and fiddled with the mirrors, which always drove her crazy. She hadn’t driven since the ‘70s, leaving Sam the sole driver of the car. How much adjusting could the damn mirrors possibly need? She waited for him to glance her way; but, as usual, he focused so firmly on his own agenda that he never looked up to see what was right in front of him.

As the car’s wheels squelched down the slushy driveway, a surge of panic broiled in Angelina’s guts. Run after him, her instincts screamed. Beg him to stay. As her instincts had never done her a lick of good, she ignored them.

A sudden swirl of wind buffeted the hem of her housecoat, chilling her in places she’d never felt cold before. The shock of it jolted Angelina to her senses. Here she stood practically naked, and that handsome young lawyer fellow from down the street would be jogging by any minute now. What on earth would he think of her?

A fragment of her son Vinny’s favorite poem came back to her, the poem he’d flustered her with every chance he got: “How naked go the sometime nude!” Realizing just how vulnerable she was, both to the elements and her own emotions, Angelina thought she finally understood exactly what the poet had been trying to say.

She trudged back into the house as the Buick continued its doddering descent into the street. She needed to get herself in order and concentrate on priorities: a cup of steaming hot coffee, her white cotton panties, and her trusty Playtex eighteen-hour bra. Then she would call Sam’s sister. If anyone knew what had gotten into him, it would be Gloria.

So what if Sam had taken plenty of comares in the past, Angelina reflected as she dried off from her bath and donned her daily armor. What Sicilian husband of their generation hadn’t? It was certainly no reflection on the wife. Out of all the wanna-be pinup girls clamoring for his attention, she was the one Sam had chosen to bear his name. To Angelina’s generation, that meant something. To her, it meant everything.

She’d been desolate when he’d taken his first mistress, but with a torrent of tears still streaming down her cheeks, she’d decided that if another woman was willing to do the things in the bedroom that she, Angelina, was not, she was willing to turn a blind eye, as long as Sam still showed her the respect she was due. And he always had. But this morning, when she’d searched his sock drawer and found a stash of Viagra he certainly wasn’t using with her, the shock of her anger had compelled her to confront him. She couldn’t have said what had changed; she only knew something had.

She’d never imagined Sam would react the way he had. Through all their years together, he’d never so much as hinted at leaving her. Yet he was gone, his Viagra along with him.

With shaking hands, she picked up the phone and dialed Sam’s sister. “Gloria? Come over. We need to talk.”



Two cups of coffee and a tablespoon of Maalox later, her sister-in-law let herself in without bothering to knock. “Yoo-hoo, Angie, it’s meee-ee.” Angelina wrinkled her nose as the cloying stench of Gloria’s perfume wafted into the kitchen a good ten seconds before she did. “I brought you some crushed tomatoes, the imported ones,” she said.

“Two for two dollars at Mercandetti’s. You can’t go wrong.”

Angelina plucked the bag from Gloria’s flabby arms and set it on the counter. “What do I owe?”

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Gloria chirped. “It all comes out in the wash eventually.” Moving into the dining room, she flung her gaudy purse over the back of one chair and herself into another, which groaned its protest. Angelina winced. The woman had to know how big her ass was. Would it kill her to sit more gently?

Angelina placed three almond paste cookies on a piece of paper towel and joined Gloria at the table. She needed to convince her to tell what she knew, and God knew the woman loved her sweets.

“I know Sam must have called you,” she said. “Did he tell you why he left?”

“He didn’t tell me a thing, swear to Gawd.” Gloria clasped one hand over her voluminous bosom. “You know Sam, so dramatic. He was blabbering a mile a minute. I barely caught any of it.”

“I don’t believe that for a second, since he doesn’t even take his morning crap without running it by you first."

“Well, he did say he was leaving,” Gloria conceded, “but he didn’t fill me in on the details.”

“Oh, so that’s why you rushed over here, hoping to get them from me so you can spread my private business all over town?”

Gloria gave a dainty sniff, arching one thickly-drawn-on eyebrow. “You’re the one who asked me to come.”

The last thing Angelina wanted to do was humble herself before Gloria, but what choice did she have? “I never thought he’d have the cogliones to leave.”

“Oh, honey,” Gloria said. “What happened?”

“He’s cheating. Again.”

Gloria devoured all three cookies in exactly six bites before responding. “Seriously? He’s eighty years old, for Heaven’s sake.”

“Tell that to the people who make those nasty sex pills. You’re lucky to be a widow. You don’t have to worry about sex anymore.”

Gloria grimaced, showcasing both her impressive chins. “Well, maybe if Sam didn’t have to keep working fifteen years after he retired, he wouldn’t be in a position to meet that kind of woman, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it either.”

“Not that it’s your business, but Sam does not have to work. It’s not like we need the money. But you know your brother; you can’t tell him a damn thing.”

Gloria rolled her eyes. “My brother’s spent money like a drunken sailor since the day he married you. Your pensions and his piddly salary can’t possibly cover the kind of bills he racks up.”

“Well, he doesn’t spend it on me, if that’s what you’re implying. I already have everything I need.”

“Oh, that’s rich!” Gloria’s bray of a laugh jangled against Angelina’s frayed nerves. “He’s still paying for the crap he bought for you twenty years ago, interest upon interest. Do you have any idea how many times me and Dom have bailed him out over the years?”

Angelina was struck silent. No, she hadn’t known. Sam had always handled their finances, and she’d kept her nose out of it.

“Did you really think Sam never told anybody about the hoops you made him jump through to get a little nookie?” Gloria mimicked her brother’s gravelly voice. “‛One outfit, one time. You want Angie to take off her nightgown, you’d better come home with jewelry. You want her to pretend she likes it, it better be diamonds.’ It’s been a family joke for years.”    

Angelina felt the sting of humiliation to her very soul. She’d always thought Sam’s family had envied her, at the very least respected her, and all the time they’d been sniggering behind her back.

Gloria stood quickly. “Look, forget I said anything. Really, nobody thought anything of it. I’m sure Sam will be back when he calms down. He loves his creature comforts too much to stay away for long.”

Angelina stifled the urge to slap the smirk from Gloria’s face. “Get out, Gloria. I don’t know why I thought you might actually be helpful for once.”

“I’ve gotta run anyway. And don’t worry about paying me for the tomatoes. Dom made sure I’d never have to worry about money.”

“Take them with you. I don’t want them. You know I only use Roma tomatoes.”

“Well, excuuuuse me, Mrs. High-and-Mighty.” Gloria grabbed the bag and headed off in a huff, slamming the door behind her.



Angelina stood before her walk-in closet. She’d always viewed her collection of expensive clothing and lavish jewelry with pride, as evidence of Sam’s devotion. Now she felt nothing at all. Certainly not shame. What did she have to be ashamed of? She always kept an immaculate house and delicious meals on the table, and he always rewarded her for it. In exchange, she accommodated him in the bedroom as long as he behaved. She’d actually thought he’d been as grateful for her as she’d been for him from the start.

The handsome war hero had been a great catch – a good provider, a decent father, a fun-loving companion. This was far more than the homely, big-boned girl the boys in Little Italy called “Horsey” had ever expected to have, and she’d been determined to hold tight to him. Everyone had been shocked when Sam had chosen her, but for sixty years she’d showed them all. Or so she’d believed.

Even after the disappointment of her wedding night, Angelina had hoped love would come eventually. They’d done okay, all things considered, maybe even better than most, but love would have been nice, she thought, blinking back tears. It sure would have been nice.



Not five minutes after the bellboy closed the door behind them, Sam heaved and grunted on top of Angelina like a mindless animal, while the white satin peignoir she’d gotten for her bridal shower remained neatly folded in her unopened suitcase, and the loving words she’d expected to hear remained unsaid.

Her girlfriends had warned her sex might hurt a little at first, but she hadn’t expected to feel like her insides were being ripped to shreds, nor was she prepared for the sweat and stink and mess of it all.

There was blood afterwards, splotches of it flowering the creamy white sheets. Not even pausing to pull her panties back on, Angelina scurried to the bathroom and wetted a plush towel. Kneeling atop the bed, she scrubbed frantically at the stains, mortified at the thought of the maid seeing them.

“Nice view,” Sam said.

She had no patience for his nonsense. “C’mon, Sam. Help me out here.”

“Oh, I’ll help you out.” He draped himself over her,  and took her from behind, slapping hard at her buttocks. “Giddy-up, Horsey,”

Angelina was paralyzed, both at his use of the hated nickname and what she feared he intended to do. Why had nobody told her about this? Was it some degrading secret that only other wives knew? She closed her eyes tightly and prayed for it to be over.

When she awoke in the morning, she was relieved beyond measure to find a note that Sam had gone exploring. How could she possibly face him now? Disappointment flooded through her, both for Sam, who had expected her to do those perverted things, and for herself, who hadn’t said or done a thing to stop him. She didn’t think she could ever love him now, but the time to end things was past. She and her parents would never live down the shame.

“Angie, come see what I bought you!” Sam was exuberant upon his return later that morning, carrying armloads of pastel shopping bags filled with silk dresses and frothy nightgowns, crystal bottles of French parfum, Belgian chocolates wrapped in gold foil, handbags with matching gloves soft as butter, and a sapphire-and-diamond necklace so exquisite, Angelina grew dizzy at the sight of it.

She imagined how envious everyone would be at such lavish evidence of Sam’s devotion. Maybe it was worth it, she thought. After last night, she deserved all of it and more. “No more funny stuff,” she warned, accepting his slobbery kiss as he backed her toward the unmade bed. “Just the regular way from now on.”

“It will never happen again,” he promised. And it never had.



What was happy, anyway, Angelina thought, except what everybody else thought you had that they didn’t? As it turned out, the only one who’d been fooled was herself. She had never garnered respect at all, not from Sam and not from his family. Her marriage had been a sham from the start, branding her both a laughingstock and a fool.

Furious in a way she’d never allowed herself to feel before, Angelina flung jewelry boxes and clothing alike into mounds on the carpet until the closet was empty. She collapsed atop them and sobbed until her eyes were barren of tears.



She was boiling a pot of rigatoni when Sam returned, exactly nine days and sixteen unanswered telephone messages from Gloria later. Angelina heard the front door open and close, the squeak of his La-Z-Boy, the blare of Pat Sajak and the “Wheel of Fortune.”    

Did he really think he could just waltz back in like nothing had happened? Not if she had anything to say about it. Angelina marched into the den and stood above him but found herself struck dumb.

“It’s over, Angie. Never again. I swear on my mother’s grave.” Sam started crying then, talking all the while, but Angelina didn’t comprehend a word. “I shouldn’t have left,” he said, finally running out of steam.

“No, you shouldn’t have.”

There was so much else Angelina longed to say: how deeply she’d been wounded every time she’d had to pretend he was somewhere, anywhere else but with another woman; how mortified she was to find he’d been mocking her to their family and friends for years. But there was no point now. She had chosen silence on her wedding night, she realized, and had lived in the prison of that silence ever since. Besides, what was the alternative? To divorce him and start over at seventy-five years old? It might be a new millennium, but she was the same old Angelina.

Remembering the pasta on the stove, she walked back into the kitchen. Surely it was ruined by now.

“I stopped at Calabria’s for a loaf of bread,” Sam said, following behind her. “I got you six cans of the Roma tomatoes you like.”

“Thank you,” she said, shuffling slowly to the stove like the old woman she was. “That was nice.”

He shrugged. “They’re buy one, get one free, over a dollar cheaper than Mercandetti’s. You can’t go wrong.”

But you can, Angelina thought, stirring the limp, overcooked pasta. You can go wrong. And once you do, you have no hope of going back to change it. Still, she stirred and stirred and stirred.


BIO: Lisa Benwitz’s poem, “The Things You Never Did,” was published in 2003 in Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Mothers, and has since been reprinted in other Chicken Soup books as well as on its website. She is currently enrolled in a creative writing MFA program at WVU.


Safe

by

Brian Hunt

Everyone wore a mask now, but why they did was no longer a question. Those who asked either disappeared or, after a suitable period of re-education, joined their faceless colleagues. The masks kept us free not just from airborne threats to health but from the complexities of signalling...

Read more: Safe

 

 

 

Eagles’ Run

by

Sandra Niedzialek

Sarah Jensen works at the county morgue. It’s the only job available, her probation officer tells her. She’s a lousy thief, it seems. Gah, she hates scrubbing stainless steel. She’s the only one in the morgue because her shift is from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. As she...

Read more: Eagles’ Run

 

 

 

How Horrible the Moon

by

Brian Hunt

How horrible the moon. How horrible the pale light it cast upon my grave as it called me to my duty.

In a few short hours I would leave the comfort of my grave to walk among the living. I scared most of them, but now after over...

Read more: How Horrible the Moon

 

 

 

The Woman in the Mirror

by

Miriam Manglani

Jack pulled the comforter over his head and clamped his hands over his ears, but it did
little to block out his parents’ screaming. If it got any worse, he would hide in his closet.

“I told you I wanted shrimp for dinner,” Amit, Jack’s father, scowled and...

Read more: The Woman in the Mirror

 

 

 

To the Moon

by

Brigitte Whiting

"How terrible the moon," Mr. Abrams said each time there was a full moon. "There's sadness with beauty."

At first, when the future Mrs. Abrams met him, she thought it was odd. When he was young, he'd wanted to ride on the back of his older brother's motorcycle...

Read more: To the Moon

 

 

 

One Precious Day

by

Paul K. McWilliams

“We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away.”
                                                                                                                     -Walker Percy

                                                                   

Mike Hanlon, an old childhood friend of mine, had cultivated the pot, not for kicks or profit, but expressly for relief.  He was a poor and suffering soul growing...

Read more: One Precious Day

 

 

 

SkippyGraycoat

by

Peter Mancusi

Skippy Graycoat woke up early to the chirping of birds. It had been a long night for the young squirrel. He spent hours fixing up his new apartment, a fancy little hollow inside of an old, maple tree, and he was happy to finally have some privacy. No...

Read more: SkippyGraycoat

 

 

 

A Pot Full of Beans

by

Brigitte Whiting

Clara Beth didn't remember that she'd promised to fill the cast iron bean pot for the Smithville Annual Bean Hole Bean Pot supper until late Friday afternoon when she received the call that the bean hole was prepared, the embers hot and ready. "Almost ready," she lied. What...

Read more: A Pot Full of Beans

 

 

 

How You Can Go Wrong

by

Lisa Benwitz

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Angelina scoffed at Sam, her husband of sixty years. “You’re not leaving. You won’t last a day without me.”

“I can’t deal with you anymore,” he said as he walked out the door. As if she’d been the one to disappoint, to betray.

Angelina’s sagging...

Read more: How You Can Go Wrong

 

 

 

The Piano

by

Nitin Mishra

The old grand piano sat in lonely corner of the room. Dust covered the piano body, and insects crept in through the keys. For the house’s inhabitants, the grand piano was merely a dead wooden sound-making device mechanically operated. No one ever tried to infuse life into the...

Read more: The Piano

 

 

 

Makers and Takers

by

Kim Bundy

Jake dropped the baby off at daycare early that morning and replaced three water heaters by lunch. There were two HVAC systems left to service, so he wolfed down a sandwich as he drove between jobs. When he got back to the shop that afternoon, his boss called...

Read more: Makers and Takers

 

 

 

The “Ely Kay”

by

Paul K. McWilliams

It’s my boat yard, and I don’t much care for the look of her. It’s a point of pride. You should be able to take a level to a boat up on lumber. Every day with her list, she stares me down. She looks guilty and sad with...

Read more: The “Ely Kay”

 

 

 

What We Long For

by

Cyril Dabydeen

Creating an imaginary garden
                            with real toads in it.
                                    --Marianne Moore


Frogs circle the yellow-and-black snake in the trout stream by instinct, no less. Mr. Yorick, tall, but roundish, ...

Read more: What We Long For

 

 

 

Emerson

by

Paul K. McWilliams

He hurts, body, mind, and soul. Death has made its introduction and he has given it a knowing nod. At this moment he’s in a hospice unit. The head of his bed is elevated and he’s in the consoling company of his dog, Emerson. The dog proved quickly...

Read more: Emerson

 

 

 

Blunt Trauma

by

Paul K. McWilliams

To all, excepting only Annie, Charles W. Durgin fell while fishing and drowned.  It has been nearly ten years since she struck him with his own club, the club he affectionately called “the priest.” Nightmares still waken her upright and screaming. Not the stifled screams into his calloused...

Read more: Blunt Trauma

 

 

 

Man in the Mirror

by

Nitin Mishra

It may have been the sultriest day of the decade, who knows, maybe two or even three decades and the excessive humidity had invited swarms of insects. In such a sweltering afternoon people were destined to stay indoors, and if anyone ventured out, the insects would certainly torment...

Read more: Man in the Mirror

 

 

 

The Impostor

by

Mick Clark

I was amazed by how many people were stuffed inside my uncle Henry’s corpse.

My aunt clung to me for the first time in her life, bird-bone brittle and ashen pale, while the mourners breathed crowds of ghosts into the icy morning air.

The coffin swayed...

Read more: The Impostor

 

 

 

21 Days of Lockdown

by

Donna Abraham Tijo

Day 1:
When Coronavirus Comes Calling
A five-year-old declares, 'I wish to always have my favourite pancake in my world.'

Day 2:
An E-mail of Hope
He sent the e-mail to the school reserving seats for his daughter for the fall session. It’s in the new city they...

Read more: 21 Days of Lockdown

 

 

 

Sugar Daddy Dreams

by

Enza Vynn-Cara

Burnt toast, avocado, honey, two poached eggs laced with turmeric and garlic, and a new vitamin concoction that makes my stomach churn, and still, I guzzle half of it down with gusto, as if it’s our first Godfather Cocktail at Carlo’s Bar.

Why, you ask?

Because...

Read more: Sugar Daddy Dreams

 

 

 

The Visitor

by

Brigitte Whiting

Madeleine saw the visitor in her Sunday school class, a man her age, maybe fortyish —she considered herself a youthful fifty —with a deep dimple in the middle of his chin. He wore no wedding ring. He introduced himself as having just moved to Cannington, and was the...

Read more: The Visitor

 

 

 

Chickens

by

Brigitte Whiting

First, there was dust everywhere, but now, far worse, there were chickens everywhere. They were pecking through the yard, leaving puffs of dust. They were roosting in the pine trees. And they clucked from morning to night. The five roosters vied for which was loudest and shrillest. Amanda...

Read more: Chickens

 

 

 

Desiree

by

Joe Cappello

I buried him in the backyard one night after a rainstorm. The soil I removed from the hole was thick and sticky and clung stubbornly to the surface of my shovel.

I connected the hose to the backyard spigot and used it to clean off the shovel. Then...

Read more: Desiree

 

 

 

The Anointing of Mary Ballard

by

Joe Cappello

The young lady entered the laboratory with her eyes cast down reverently, as though entering a church. When she reached the gurney, she pulled a chair close to it and placed the things she was carrying on a nearby table. She removed the sheet covering the body and...

Read more: The Anointing of Mary Ballard

 

 

 

Beginning at the End

by

Joe Cappello

I am in a meeting at our England location in a typical rectangular conference room walled off from the real world of work taking place outside. Suddenly, I am a spirit floating above my colleagues, as though I had died only seconds earlier and am waiting to be...

Read more: Beginning at the End

 

 

 

Hope Held My Heart

by

Chel Talleyrand

We were isolated that summer from the rest of the world. The excessive rains had pounded the fields into mosquito-infested pools, destroying our harvests of corn and beans. We heard it was worse in the cities. As food supplies depleted, guns decided distribution. Friends and families banded together...

Read more: Hope Held My Heart

 

 

 

Bibliosmia

by

Penny Camp

My love for reading started early. I traveled the world and rode dragons, fought knights, stormed castles, stole treasure with pirates and rescued kidnapped princesses. I floated down rivers in the deepest regions of unexplored lands. I climbed trees and mountains and flew on clouds.

Mom read to...

Read more: Bibliosmia

 

 

 

To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen

by

Brigitte Whiting

A flock of wild turkeys has wandered in and out of my yard for years. I have a raised deck so my birdfeeders stand ten feet off the ground and the turkeys graze under them. They are timid birds, and typically when I step out onto the deck, ...

Read more: To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen

 

 

 

The Style of No Style

by

Frank Richards

I must be the Charlie Brown of writers because I’ve never been able to figure out what “style” is all about. What does that word, ‘style,’ mean? I’ve always had a problem with it. If there were such a thing as “styleblindness,” a disease like colorblindness, I’d be...

Read more: The Style of No Style

 

 

 

Corona Clean

by

Fran Schumer

The Corona virus presents new challenges. Stuck at home, and with more of us sleeping, eating and working here, and a dirtier house, I was finally going to have to figure out how to use my new vacuum cleaner. Ordered a year ago, it mostly sat in its...

Read more: Corona Clean

 

 

 

Occasional Neighbors

by

Brigitte Whiting

I understand a little bit about wild turkeys. They're on a constant hunt for food, drifting through the neighborhood scrounging what they can. But I don't know how it happens that a few will either be left behind by the flock or leave it. This past fall, I'd...

Read more: Occasional Neighbors

 

 

 

Enjoy the Ride

by

Penny Camp

Get up early. You can’t ride all day if you sleep in. Braid your hair tight — you don’t want it flapping in the wind. Make sure you don’t wear the undies with the seams down the back because after a long day of riding they will make...

Read more: Enjoy the Ride

 

 

 

Cocoa and Biscuits

by

Penny Camp

Saturday mornings were special occasions at our house when we were growing up. My friends begged to spend the night so they could be part of the Saturday morning ritual.

Mom would take out her green plastic bowl and splash in a little water, a little cocoa powder, ...

Read more: Cocoa and Biscuits

 

 

 

Livin’ the Dream

by

Holly Miller

When I was a child, my mom and Aunt Leona would pack us six kids into our blue Chevy Belair and drive to a local mobile home dealer (they were known as trailers back then). We would walk through the new homes, just for something to do. How...

Read more: Livin’ the Dream

 

 

 

Fall in Maine

by

Brigitte Whiting

Autumn is falling in Maine, harder this year than I remember over the last few falls. We've had two nights of close to freezing temperatures, not enough to ice over the birdfeeders or kill any of my plants yet, but cold enough to turn the furnace on. My...

Read more: Fall in Maine

 

 

 

Best Laid Plans

by

Penny Devlin

Every year shortly before spring, the Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. catalog shows up on my doorstep. The cover is plastered with a WARNING label in big black letters informing me that if I don’t order now, this will be my last catalog. It also has coupons: $100...

Read more: Best Laid Plans

 

 

 

One January Morning

by

Brigitte Whiting

Mornings, I like to have a Kindle eBook open on the dining room table so I can read and look out into the backyard to see what might be happening. 

I live in a raised ranch with an attached two-car garage. My deck, which is off the kitchen...

Read more: One January Morning

 

 

 

The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

by

Sarah Yasin

A book club I’m part of recently discussed The Ruinsby Scott Smith. It’s not a book I would have finished reading based on the first 50 pages, but sticking with it afforded me insight into what a narrative voice can do. The story is about a group...

Read more: The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space

 

 

 

A River of Words

by

Penny Devlin

Go to work every day. Do your job. Do it well. Always learning, getting better every day. Soaking in the letters that become words, that lead to success.

Meetings, instructions, to-do lists, directions — the words start to drown like a river of brown muddy water rushing through...

Read more: A River of Words

 

 

 

Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

by

Jen Lowry

On our homeschool adventure today, we dreamed aloud of the places we would travel to if we could. My kids and I agree: Ireland and Scotland are our top two places to visit. We played music from Spotify and sang aloud to the merry tunes of the Irish.

...

Read more: Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist

 

 

 

Monarch Butterflies

by

Brigitte Whiting

I had no idea what milkweed looked like because I'd never seen it, but I'd always wanted it to grow in my yard so I could see the monarch butterflies.


For the longest time, I've hoped the patch of wonderfully fragrant plants with pale purple flowers growing...

Read more: Monarch Butterflies

 

 

 

A Monarch Chrysalis

by

Brigitte Whiting

The monarch caterpillar couldn't decide where to turn itself into a chrysalis. He wandered across my front stoop so many times I was afraid I'd step on it so I stopped using the front door. One time, he'd be crawling up a post of the front railing. Another...

Read more: A Monarch Chrysalis

 

 

 

Truth

by

Angela Hess

I am twisted, bent, and deformed on every side. Everyone trying to use me to serve their own purposes, to justify their own beliefs and actions. Their eyes constantly sliding away from my pure, unaltered form, too brilliant and painful to behold without their chosen filters to dim...

Read more: Truth

 

 

 

The Goldfinch

by

Brigitte Whiting

On a Monday afternoon, I carried a bucket of water outdoors to refill the birdbath. A male goldfinch jumped down from the bath’s rim, and hopped away as quickly as he could to creep beneath a nearby spruce branch. I thought how odd he was...

Read more: The Goldfinch

 

 

 

Of Heroes and Holiness

by

Angela Hess

What does a hero look like?

 

George Bailey is a hero.

 

George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.

 

George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.

 

Rudy left his family...

Read more: Of Heroes and Holiness

 

 

 

My Desk

by

Luann Lewis

Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...

Read more: My Desk

 

 

 

My Mobile Space

by

Janet Harvey

 

In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.

 

 

We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...

Read more: My Mobile Space

 

 

 

A Red Squirrel's Narrative

by

Brigitte Whiting

This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...

Read more: A Red Squirrel's Narrative

 

 

 

Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

by

Joy Manné

This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.

This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...

Read more: Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF

 

 

 

Reunion

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”

 

The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...

Read more: Reunion

 

 

 

A Fear of Broken Things

by

Angela Hess

“Does he look at you?”

 

My cousin’s innocent question triggers a flashing red warning light in my brain. My baby doesn’t look at me. I assumed he was too young still, but my cousin’s baby is only four days older than mine, and they are...

Read more: A Fear of Broken Things

 

 

 

Neighborhood Walk Meditation

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Vultures gather on the old man’s neighbor’s barn,
‘decorated with ravens and barren trees.
A small cottontail stirs...

Read more: Neighborhood Walk Meditation

 

 

 

Dream Metaphor

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I shiver in the darkened room,
stretch, try to pull the covers higher,
suddenly I am floating near...

Read more: Dream Metaphor

 

 

 

A Whitmanesque Inventory: Spring

by

Phebe Beiser

So glad it rained last night. Now, late morning, sun shines,
an unexpectedly warm early March. What a...

Read more: A Whitmanesque Inventory: Spring

 

 

 

Solitary

by

Malkeet Kaur

For eons now, the very core of my being
has become inaccessible.

Solitary.

Once it used to be...

Read more: Solitary

 

 

 

The Blanket Hugs Me

by

Louise E. Sawyer

I’m grateful that I have a daybed
downstairs where I can rest during the day
with my Guinea...

Read more: The Blanket Hugs Me

 

 

 

On Love and Dreams

by

Miriam Manglani

1.
Love is a beast and angel and dream on fire.

2.
Your soul wakes in your dreams.

...

Read more: On Love and Dreams

 

 

 

The Writer’s Breastplate

by

Louise E. Sawyer

…apologies to St. Patrick


Creative Spirit with me,
Creative Spirit before me,
Creative Spirit behind me,
Creative Spirit...

Read more: The Writer’s Breastplate

 

 

 

The Sweater

by

Malkeet Kaur

As I rummage through the clothes,
I spot it, the well-worn white sweater
that now had aging spots...

Read more: The Sweater

 

 

 

The Holly Tree

by

Nolo Segundo

We have a large holly tree
in our backyard—
is it foolish to say
you love a tree?

...

Read more: The Holly Tree

 

 

 

waiting on an email

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

rain beats against the metal awning.
winds whipped up against two storms
racing each other over the Mississippi
...

Read more: waiting on an email

 

 

 

Looking for Weeds

by

Louise E. Sawyer

Pushing my walker with the purple
pet carrier propped up on the seat,
I walk down the driveway.
...

Read more: Looking for Weeds

 

 

 

Ocean Mood

by

Malkeet Kaur

The roaring, crashing surf summon us.
Soft and damp ecru sand lies beneath our bare soles.
The sun-baked...

Read more: Ocean Mood

 

 

 

The Beetle in the Sink

by

Miriam Manglani

There is a beetle in the sink.  
A big fat one,
shiny and black
with sharp needle...

Read more: The Beetle in the Sink

 

 

 

Four Cats – Four Friends

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I
the painting of four cats
hangs on my living room wall


II
you can see
Glory Barrie...

Read more: Four Cats – Four Friends

 

 

 

On Eating an Orange and Seeing God

by

Nolo Segundo

I miss the big navels, the big navels when they are not in season,
but almost any orange...

Read more: On Eating an Orange and Seeing God

 

 

 

Summer – A Pantoum

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I sit on my deck and enjoy summer sun.
Zephyrs caress my cheeks with soft kisses.
Bombay cat...

Read more: Summer – A Pantoum

 

 

 

Your Broken Heart

by

Miriam Manglani

I found your heart’s hinge —
I knew it could open!
Inside, I saw all of its broken...

Read more: Your Broken Heart

 

 

 

Who Is Margaret?

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

I find the small black and white picture in a box
of old letters untouched for twenty years.
...

Read more: Who Is Margaret?

 

 

 

Made Whole by Others

by

Miriam Manglani

Some people fill deep holes in us
the space that’s left when our loved ones leave
they plug...

Read more: Made Whole by Others

 

 

 

Autumn Villanelle

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

leaves don orange, crimson and yellow gowns
as they prepare for Cinderella’s autumn ball,
soon the leaves will...

Read more: Autumn Villanelle

 

 

 

Sunny Day Epiphany

by

Lina Sophia Rossi

Umberto, my Golden Retriever is sad,
Sparkie and Sal, his companions, have died

I wanted to adopt a...

Read more: Sunny Day Epiphany

 

 

 

Ocean City

by

Nolo Segundo

I saw it then as my own little Shangri-la,
for I was very small and knew nothing
of...

Read more: Ocean City

 

 

 

All The Dead I Know

by

Nolo Segundo

Let’s start with Eric—a nerdy-looking kid before
nerds were invented, and only 18 when he crashed
his funny...

Read more: All The Dead I Know

 

 

 

The Dinosaur Will Get a Makeover

by

Miriam Manglani

She talks of makeovers with friends,
using contour sticks and beauty blenders,
making “Tiktoks” with dance moves
called...

Read more: The Dinosaur Will Get a Makeover

 

 

 

Fireplace Camping

by

Louise E. Sawyer

After supper, my brother Frank and I beg Dad,
“Tell us a story in front of the fireplace.”
...

Read more: Fireplace Camping

 

 

 

My Love

by

Miriam Manglani

My love for you was tentative and tender
Now it blazes like wildfire through dry fields
Cuts through...

Read more: My Love

 

 

 

The Never-Was-But-Could-Have-Been

by

Miriam Manglani

I never doubted that he loved me
even after he died from dementia —
There were tight hugs...

Read more: The Never-Was-But-Could-Have-Been

 

 

 

Farley vs Apricot

by

Glenda Walker-Hobbs

Apricot the Beanie cat
perches atop the bookcase,
guards the books,
taunts the ginger kitten down below

Farley’s...

Read more: Farley vs Apricot

 

 

 

Define Self Truth

by

Gerardine Gail (Esterday) Baugh

How blind are we with
wishes that bite; with
memories that burn;
that we choose, to be
trapped, ...

Read more: Define Self Truth

 

 

 

Invisible Lines

by

Miriam Manglani

When I first saw their formless
bodies on screen,
worlds unfurled
in their grainy black and white images,
...

Read more: Invisible Lines

 

 

 

She Bikes for the First Time

by

Miriam Manglani

“Keep peddling!” I call.
Not prepared to watch her fall.
I hold the bike steady
and let it...

Read more: She Bikes for the First Time

 

 

 

The Stranger

by

Miriam Manglani

You were always quiet but
grew quieter.
Unable to retrieve basic words like “cat”.
There were other small...

Read more: The Stranger

 

 

 

A New Day Begins

by

Bob Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

Angst

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

The Fly on the Wall

by

Bob Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

Glancing Vulnerably

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Fowl Squabbling

by

Bob Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

A Mid-Photo's Daydream

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Solar Reflection

by

Bob Hembree

More Details...

 

 

 

Being Held Up

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Reflections

by

Paula Parker

More Details...

 

 

 

Jack

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

More Details...

 

 

 

Hollister

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Evelyn

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

More Details...

 

 

 

Curiosity

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Rebecca

by

Gerardine Gail Esterday

More Details...

 

 

 

Hazel

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Working Hands

by

Paula Parker

More Details...

 

 

 

Maya

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

The Birds in the Flower

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Pst... Hey

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

The World in Her Hands

by

Alberto Rodriguez Orejuela

More Details...

 

 

 

Oak

by

Craig Gettman

More Details...

 

 

 

Flower

by

Craig Gettman

More Details...

 

 

 

Berries

by

Craig Gettman

More Details...

 

 

 

Winding Road

by

Craig Gettman

More Details...

 

 

 

Sunset - April 2020

by

Craig Gettman

More Details...